The most striking part of this exhibition was the animal covers from Sindh and Balochistan. In nomadic communities, the livestock comprises real assets and friends of communities. Thus the painstakingly prepared horse-head-covers and camel trappings were outstanding. Our people have such delicate tastes and as Aasim told me that communities continue to preserve this tradition from one generation to other.
Over time these traditions have come under attack by rampant consumerism. Several such gems are now found in affluent homes of wealthy Pakistanis here or abroad, through an elaborate network of middlemen, sellers and dealers. These radical shifts are changing the traditional patters of folk textiles as the products lack their earlier familiarity and intimacy. Prepared for markets the materials used have also changed over the decades. Leather, for instance, has now been replaced by plastic, wool with acrylics while natural dyes have almost vanished. This is why the exhibition’s range of natural dyes from Hazara textiles to those prepared in Sindh was a reminder of a fast vanishing skill.